About Us

Established in 2015, CPAW works with communities to reduce wildfire risks through improved land use planning. CPAW is a program of Headwaters Economics. It is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and private foundations. 

The CPAW team consists of foresters, land use planners, economists, and wildfire risk modelers who collaborate closely with community leaders to reduce wildfire risk. Read more about how we work and where we work


Our Vision

We envision fire-adapted communities that live with the inevitability of wildfires by integrating wildfire risk-reduction measures into design and development, thus minimizing costs, protecting structures, and saving lives.

In our vision, wildfire is part of the landscape but no lives are lost or homes destroyed. Incentives for firebreaks, cluster development, landscape treatments, development and design standards, building codes, subdivision regulations, and other planning tools are successively applied. Wildfire costs are minimized and agency budgets are spent on recovery and restoration. As a result of good land use planning, wildfire has played its role in promoting landscape resiliency, forest fuels are reduced, and the community has safer developments.

The Problem

  • The wildland-urban interface (WUI) continues to be developed.
  • Climate change exacerbates the frequency and intensity of wildfires.
  • More money is spent on protecting homes, lives, and property from wildfires.
  • The burden on state and federal budgets is increased.
  • Firefighters’ lives are endangered.

The Solution

  • Homes in wildfire-prone areas are safer and more valuable through improved land use planning.
  • It’s not about removing fire from the landscape.
  • It’s not about telling people what not to do.
  • It’s not about stopping all development.
  • It’s about reducing community risk to wildfires through safer development.

The Result

  • Insurance rates are affordable.
  • The city/county tax base is protected.
  • No firefighting injuries or deaths result from defending homes.
  • Government agencies spend less on firefighting and more on forest health and fuel reduction.